Sean Parker Celebration of Cancer Initiative
“Welcome to our backyard,” said Sean Parker, in something of an understatement, as the Napster co-founder and his wife, Alexandra, welcomed an A-list of celebrities, business leaders, scientists and other VIPs to their Los Angeles home.
The Apr. 13 affair celebrated the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, jumpstarted with Parker’s contribution of $250 million to create a collaboration of six research centers in the fight against cancer.
Click here to read my entire story in the Los Angeles Times, which spotlights 4 of the night’s top highlights. But there were so many special moments and very frankly, big wows that I’m also listing a few more below.
5. Blazing candles and personalized paper towels
“What I want to know is who lit all the candles?” said emcee Tom Hanks of the hundreds of candles blazing along the pathways, dotting the perimeters of the dinner tent and flickering in the water features.
Towers of tropical blooms stood alongside tables and light fixtures looking like Florentine cookies hung overhead. Instead of the usual floral centerpieces: there were tasteful clusters of succulents.
And lest anyone miss the seriously important reason for the occasion, Hanks pointed out that even the paper towels in the portable toilets had been embossed with the Parker Institute’s logo.
“We all know cancer touches everyone,” said Hanks, who said that his wife, Rita Wilson, had been diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, underwent a double mastectomy and is now cancer free. “She was the bravest human being I have ever seen on the planet,” he said.
Bradley Cooper choked up as he spoke from onstage of his father, who died from lung cancer. “I was in a very lucky position because I was able to put everything on hold in all aspects of my life and completely focus on taking care of him,” he said.
During the cocktail hour, Michelle Monaghan revealed that her mother was a breast cancer survivor. “Cancer has affected so many friends and family members and probably each and every person here and around the world,” she said. “I’m so happy to be here on such a memorable event to celebrate what (Parker) has done. What he’s contributed today will be felt by so many people for many lifetimes.”
7. Two Sean P’s
“Sean P, Sean P,” mused Penn at the start of his remarks. “One of them is the warrior that’s going to cure the disease and the other is job security for oncologists.”
8. A-listers everywhere
Star power cast a bright glow over festivities all through the evening. Just as entrees were served, Jaime King stopped to chat with Katy Perry, who enjoyed dinner beside Orlando Bloom; Bradley Cooper shared a table with Goldie Hawn, while Michelle Monaghan caught up with Aaron Paul, co-stars in the Hulu TV series, “The Path.” James Cordon joked with Mark Ronson, and Arianna Huffington waved to friends, among the many business leaders present, such as POM Wonderful owner Stewart Resnick, as she threaded her way to her place.
9. A nod to the real VIPs: the scientists
“We’re here tonight to celebrate the scientists, the doctors and the patients and for them to really to have a good time and also to celebrate the team that has worked so hard to get this (collaboration) done over the last three years,” said Parker. “So this (party) is really for them.”
Second photo: Lady Gaga performs onstage at the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images for Parker Media)
Third photo: From left, an athletic Flea (foreground), Anthony Kiedis, right, of Red Hot Chili Peppers perform for the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images for Parker Media)
Fourth photo: Emcee Tom Hanks called his wife Rita Wilson “the bravest woman on the planet” at the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images for Parker Media)”
Fifth photo: From left, Michelle Monaghan and Aaron Paul of “The Path” and Lauren Parsekian at the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images for Parker Media)
Sixth photo: Bradley Cooper spoke of his father, who suffered from cancer during remarks at the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/ Getty Images for Parker Media)
Seventh photo: From left, Katy Perry and Jaime King take a moment to chat before dinner at the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/ Getty Images for Parker Media)
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Sean Parker Celebration of Cancer Initiative
Published Apr. 19, 2016 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA